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Month: August 2014

Cow pasture hearing Tuesday

Developer Mark Grenz, flanked by daughter Natalie, speaks about his proposal to build 120-plus apartments during a hearing in June. The topic comes to the council Sept. 2. (KEIZERTIMES file/Craig Murphy)
Developer Mark Grenz, flanked by daughter Natalie, speaks about his proposal to build 120-plus apartments during a hearing in June. The topic comes to the council Sept. 2. (KEIZERTIMES file/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Keizer City Council meetings tend to draw rather small audiences.

Next week could be different.

The proposal to convert the “cow pasture” at Verda Lane into apartments will be discussed at another public hearing next week.

The hearing will take place during the Tuesday, Sept. 2 council meeting, held a day later than normal due to the Labor Day holiday.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in council chambers at Keizer Civic Center, 930 Chemawa Road N.

Back on June 12, Keizer Hearings Officer Cynthia Domas held a public hearing to solicit feedback on the plans. Approximately 100 people filled council chambers that evening, with most speakers clearly against developer Mark Grenz of Multi-Tech Engineering’s proposal of turning the pasture land by Claggett Creek Park into 120-plus multi-level apartments.

Herber Family LLC is attempting to change zoning from Single Family Residential to Medium Density Residential and to change the Lot Line Adjustment, consolidating the current 14 lots into one 7.5 acre parcel.

Domas submitted her report to city leaders in July.

“It is hereby found that the applicant has met the burden of proving the applicable standards and criteria for approval,” the recommendation reads in part. “It is recommended that the Comprehensive Plan map amendment, Zone Change and Lot Line adjustment be approved.”

Councilors will have final authority on the issue and the hearings officer report lists a series of suggested conditions.

The conditions include issuance of sewer permits, connecting to existing sewers, coming up with a master water system plan, abandonment of any existing wells, street improvements that will “provide an adequate transportation system” along Verda Lane, the development of an overall storm drainage plan and a vacation of the Philip Street right-of-way.

Nate Brown, director of Community Development for Keizer, said the hearing before councilors was delayed to accommodate the Herber family’s plans.

“The family has out of town commitments for the month of August,” Brown said. “We felt it was important for them to be able to offer testimony.”

During the June 12 hearing, Grenz noted the Herber family came to him and asked what the best use of the land was.

“We determined residential is not the best use of the land,” Grenz said at the time. “This land is ideally suited for high-density housing. It will probably be in the 120-plus (apartments) range, probably three stories.”

If plans move forward, the apartments would go from the upcoming roundabout at Verda and Chemawa Road, along Verda down to Dearborn Avenue. The dozen or more cows would have to be removed from the pasture, an idea that was met with stiff resistance at the June hearing.

Several people have since called for city leaders to look into purchasing the property and keeping it as park land, while several other people at the June hearing declared a decision to move forward had already been made.

Like many, David Bevens shared warm recollections of seeing the cows.

“For the people that own properties around, that’s their inheritance, too,” Bevens said. “It devalues their property. I believe it should be developed, but let’s be mindful. Make improvements to benefit everyone, not just the landowners.”

Another common theme was concern about growth.

“This is a small town with a small town feel,” Brandon Baldwin said. “That attracts people. I grew up seeing the cows and horses. Albeit this is a family’s property and it’s their decision, but I speak for many when I say I don’t want it to do anything but stay what it is. Having 300 more people with no connections to the community will do nothing for the small town feel.”

Following the June hearing, Grenz noted change was coming to the property, even if no apartments.

“It’s not unreasonable for people to be concerned or to express emotions,” Grenz said. “But clearly this property won’t remain a farm. When the Herbers started on the property, a lot of Keizer was covered with orchards and farmland. That has changed.”

Grenz also offered some rebuttals against comments made.

“There’s been assertions of an impact on property values,” he said. “There’s been no factual data provided, nor have we been able to find it. Some national studies show that with apartments created under today’s standards, the trend is for property values to increase.”

A look at the Big Toy budget

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By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

As originally planned, the Big Toy would be built at Keizer Rapids Park next month.

The project has been delayed until June 2015, as previously reported in the Keizertimes.

The delay is a good thing, when looking at the budget for the project.

County Commissioner Janet Carlson, co-chair of the project’s fundraising committee, went over the most current numbers with the paper this week.

The budget lists expenses estimated to be $416,509.80; of that amount, $197,400 has been raised so far. That equates to 47 percent. Separate from that, the budget calls for $326,073.70 in in-kind labor, with most of that being volunteered labor on the five build days next June 11 to 15.

Of that amount raised, $100,000 comes from seed or plant money from the City of Keizer, in the form of System Development Charges funds. Another $85,000 comes from grants awarded so far, with the remaining $12,400 from contributions or sales.

Carlson said the $85,000 in grants includes $30,000 each from Marion County and Keizer Rotary, plus $15,000 from the Oregon Community Foundation and $10,000 from the Keizer Parks Foundation.

Carlson, the McNary High School graduate who has been working extensively with Keizer Public Works director Bill Lawyer, Community Build Task Force co-chair Richard Walsh and project general contractor Mark Caillier, said the hope is the money from Keizer Rotary will come in. Previously, it had been indicated Keizer Rotary would give the money only if the play structure was built in the originally approved location near the amphitheater. The location is unknown at this point, with several locations under consideration.

“Mark, Bill and Rich are confident the Rotary money will come in,” Carlson said.

In terms of contributions and sales, the total so far includes $8,900 in component sales, with the remaining coming from sales of fence pickets being sold at $35 each.

The sold component items list includes Marion County Fire District No. 1 buying two fire truck mister stations for $6,000, plus another $1,000 from MCFD for a fire station. Caillier and his wife Kris have purchased a beaver balance beam on chains for $1,000. Marlene Quinn, project co-chair, has purchased a bench for $900.

Caillier said approximately 100 pickets have been sold so far.

In terms of expenditures, the current budget isn’t much different than the one submitted in May when city officials applied for a $150,000 grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, an application that ultimately proved unsuccessful.

One key difference comes in the money allotted for the surface materials to cover the ground. A big source of discussion has been what type of materials to use, with bark chips, shredded rubber and a poured rubber surface being the three main options. The price difference between the three was estimated last spring to be about $150,000, with the bark chips on the low end and the poured surface at the top end.

The original budget called for $150,000 for surface materials, while the revised budget lowers that figure to $105,000. Carlson said Clint Holland has indicated he has a contact who can help out with recycled rubber material which look like wood chips but are softer and smoother. Carlson carries an example in her purse.

“I don’t like wood chips,” Carlson said. “They have splinters and they’re not that soft. This looks like bark dust, but it is soft.”

Carlson noted a poured surface would be a Cadillac-level material, but there would be ongoing maintenance on top of the higher upfront costs.

“Mark says the $105,000 is a liberal guess; it’s probably actually less than $105,000,” Carlson said.

Due to that amount being lowered, the amount needed from contributions and sales was lowered from $145,000 to a little more than $92,000.

The main item for expenditures is construction materials, with the revised budget showing $191,118 in that category. Carlson noted Caillier has priced out individual components at Lowe’s to come up with that figure.

Other expenditures include $40,000 for a parking lot and paths, $38,750 for design and project management fees to New York-based consultant Leathers and Associates (up from the original $35,000), $7,500 for food on build days, $5,000 for donor recognition and signage, $4,800 for concrete for posts and a contingency fee of $24,341.80.

“These are still estimates, but they are based on much better information now,” Carlson said. “The most concerning numbers are construction materials, since we have to still buy the items. You always want to have the most liberal estimates on costs while being conservative on what you will bring in for funding.”

Counting the SDC money from Keizer, the $197,400 received so far represents 47 percent of the necessary money being raised, with $219,110 left to raise.

While the percentage was billed recently by Walsh and Quinn as the amount raised by the fundraising committee, Carlson believes it’s fair to include the $100,000 from the city.

“The $100,000 is Keizer’s contribution to it,” she said. “The $100,000 paid for Leathers and for other expenses.”

Carlson said all task force members are responsible for trying to sell components and has stressed the need for anyone selling a component to let all others know, so that the same business or person doesn’t get hit up multiple times for the same item. Information of all sales is being sent to Debbie Lockhart, deputy city recorder with the city.

“We are funneling it all into Debbie Lockhart, who is tracking it,” Carlson said. “She can send out information and everyone can send information to Debbie.”

The next CBTF meeting is at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3 in council chambers at Keizer Civic Center, a day later than normal. The next fundraising committee meeting is Sept. 17.

Fun, family come first for new girls soccer coach

AJ Nash, the McNary High School coach of the girls junior varsity soccer team the past four seasons, began his first season as head coach this month. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
AJ Nash, the McNary High School coach of the girls junior varsity soccer team the past four seasons, began his first season as head coach this month. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

AJ Nash’s primary goal as first-year head coach of the McNary High School girls soccer program is to foster a family atmosphere. If the first day of practice was any indication, the Lady Celts might make his job easy.

“Today, we had a senior transfer student come out for the team. She fell behind in our run and two of the returning varsity players ran back a quarter of a mile to meet her and run with her the entire time until she caught up with the team,” Nash said. “It was awesome to see what it did for the three that did it, and for the team. They didn’t know who she was when they got here, but they do now.”

As tryouts progressed this week, Nash planned on weighing displays of character as a quarter of the overall factors in judging who will make the teams, but he said it will be even more of an element as the season unfurls.

“I want to listen to the assistant coaches and listen to the girls and allow them to make this program as fun as they want to make it. If we can have the reputation of having the most fun extra-curricular program, I think it will translate into wins on the field,” he said.

Nash takes over the program from longtime coach Miguel Camarena, who is continuing to lead the boys soccer programs, but demands of a larger nine-team conference forced him to take a step back. Nash has coached the Lady Celt junior varsity team for the past four years.

“Miguel leaves big shoes to fill, but it wasn’t feasible to do both with the travel,” Nash said. “Aside from creating a family, my only other goal is to carry on the legacy he has been building.”

Nash will start the season with a young team. The Lady Celts will field only one returning senior and a few juniors.

“I’m very excited about some of the freshman talent we have coming into the program, but all of them have an exemplary attitude that is going to help so much in being able to grow,” he said.

Nash, a Montana native and graduate of Willamette University where he played soccer for the Bearcats, hopes to impart some of what the sport gave back to him when all is said and done.

“Soccer gave me more life skills than any other single influence on my life: confidence, leadership, responsibility, accountability and the ability to work with others. I want to create a vehicle for these young women to learn the skills that make them a good student, a good friend, a good employee or even, one day, a good mom,” he said.

More than 6,000 lose power

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An accident led to the loss of power for a number of Keizer residents in the early morning hours Thursday, Aug. 28.

According to a statement from Salem Electric, at 12:03 a.m. on Aug. 28 a car hit a transmission pole in the Salem area. That led to the Bonneville Power Administration de-energizing the transmission line feeding the Read and Alumina substations.

Early numbers showed 6,772 Salem Electric customers in the Keizer area were impacted by the outage. The load was transferred to West Salem substations. Power was restored to all customers by 1:20 a.m.

Cherriots moving forward with new outreach effort

KEIZERTIMES/File photo
KEIZERTIMES/File photo

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

No, there aren’t plans to add Saturday transit service back.

Salem-Keizer Transit has been holding open houses recently as part of its Moving Forward initiative, a project designed to increase frequency on busy bus routes, establish consistent frequency and reduce coverage in low-ridership areas.

One such open house was held Tuesday afternoon in the Keizer Civic Center lobby. Outreach events continue though the end of September; a list of the events can be found at www.cherriots.org/movingforward.

The main emphasis of Moving Forward is to look at the first phase of proposed changes, which could be implemented next June.

Adding weekend, holiday or extended evening service times would be in future phases.

Jared Choc, Planning and Technology manager at Cherriots, noted the weekend question is a common one at outreach events.

“Everyone tells us they want weekend service,” Choc said. “We have a proposal for that. This is preplanning for what Saturday service could be. We’re trying to do more with the resources we have.”

Sadie Carney, director of Community Relations at Cherriots, said transit consultants did a bus service analysis which included surveys, polls and workshops. That led to the recommended changes being suggested in the outreach events.

“Feedback will go to our planning staff,” Carney said. “Planning staff will come to us with a plan in February.”

The Cherriots board is expected to approve a plan in February.

“If we’ve done our job well, there could be only minor changes in February,” Choc said. “That is when we’d have an official public hearing process. The more folks we talk to now, the better the map we draw.”

Maps used during the outreach show what the current Cherriots service looks like, with another map showing service with proposed changes.

“The biggest change we hope to explore would have buses changed to running every 15 minutes on busy routes,” Carney said. “That has been well received. Some routes go from hourly to every 15 minutes, while on some routes we would not run service there.”

Carney said getting more frequent service on some of the main routes will mean lesser used routes would have to be cut back. More direct routes with fewer transfers are also being looked at, as well as more consistent schedules throughout the day, as opposed to the current model of more buses in service only during the primary morning and afternoon commute times.

“Since our 2009 redesign, our focus has been on what the work day looks like, around 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.,” she said. “We’re looking at ridership numbers and see people are riding all day. People are working service jobs at different times of the day. Those are people we want to serve.”

Carney emphasized the budget isn’t being increased for the proposed first phase.

“All of this can take place within the current budget constraints,” she said. “Most people will get better access to high quality transit, four times an hour. The tradeoff is some people will lose some service.”

For the most part, the outreach is being done to solicit feedback and to see if the collected data leading to the changes was indeed correct.

“We’ve done a lot of work and we’ve made changes,” Carney said. “Now we’re turning to the public and saying this is what the data says, what do you say?”

With changes made, she said the groundwork would be laid to add additional service in the future. However, adding service such as Saturday runs would require more funding.

“If we don’t get this (first part) right, that part won’t be right,” Carney said. “The first question is always about Saturday service. Everyone wants to know about Saturday service. We have planned for it and are ready to do it, we just need more funding. We would need a levy to pass.”

Dollar Tree preps to open Sept. 20

KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy
KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

The grand opening date for the new Dollar Tree in Keizer has been set.

Sara Auxier, who will be store manager, made the announcement this week.

“We are planning a grand opening on September 20,” Auxier told the Keizertimes. “We will probably do a soft opening around September 14 leading up to it.”

The store is located at 5014 River Road North, which had been a hardware store for decades, starting as a Coast to Coast in the 1970s and most recently was an Ace. Store owner Greg Frank closed the Ace back in January, citing costs associated with a potential new long-term lease and the sales history.

Mark Rose from Rosewood Park LLC out of Corvallis, the building owner, had predicted an early autumn opening when interviewed in May.

“We have to do a little bit of modification,” he told the Keizertimes at the time. “We’re putting in a new HVAC system and just put a new roof on.”

The location will be the first in Keizer for the Virginia-based retailer. The company has five locations in Salem. Dollar Tree opened its 4,000th store in 2010 and currently has more than 4,400 locations in the United States and Canada, according to the company website. The company was founded in 1986 as Only One Dollar.

Rose was looking forward to the Dollar Tree opening.

“I think they’re going to be a really good tenant,” he said in May. “We are excited about it.”

Signs of new life for the building have become evident in recent weeks. A large green Dollar Tree sign is up, while shopping carts and crates of merchandise can be seen through the windows.

Parks Board matching grant program funds first request, for mics

Matt Lawyer, shown during Keizer Homegrown Theatre’s production of Julius Caesar, was granted a request for a new microphone and speaker system at Keizer Rapids Park. (KEIZERTIMES file/Eric A. Howald)
Matt Lawyer, shown during Keizer Homegrown Theatre’s production of Julius Caesar, was granted a request for a new microphone and speaker system at Keizer Rapids Park. (KEIZERTIMES file/Eric A. Howald)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

There is now only $13,000 left in the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board’s new matching grant program.

The reduction of $1,000 is because that’s the amount given to the first applicant for the program, which started last month.

Matt Lawyer made a request for $1,000 on behalf of the Keizer Homegrown Theatre at the Aug. 12 Parks Board meeting. The request was for a wireless microphone system and speakers to be used at the Keizer Rotary Amphitheater at Keizer Rapids Park.

“One of the things we’re looking at is continuing to improve the product, but also the sound opportunities for that space,” Lawyer said. “We want the best quality product for anyone. When you get towards the top (of the amphitheater), sometimes it’s a struggle hearing from that distance.”

Lawyer’s proposal included two bid estimates from Uptown Music, one for $2,070 and the other for $1,790, with the more expensive figure including microphone stands.

Parks Board chair Brandon Smith wondered about who would actually own the equipment.

“So the idea is this becomes property of the city?” Smith asked, getting an affirmative response.

Parks Board member Clint Holland, who runs the amphitheater, noted other groups would be able to use the equipment as well.

“This could be used at city hall,” Holland said. “Other groups can use it.”

The equipment would likely be stored either at city hall or the Public Works shop, since there is no storage place at KRP.

“It’s nice to have a system like this,” Parks Board member Roland Herrera said. “This is perfect.”

Board member Tanya Hamilton asked how rental of the equipment would work.

“Would a non-profit be able to access it for free or at a discounted cost?” she asked.

Public Works director Bill Lawyer, Matt’s uncle, noted the details hadn’t been fully worked out.

“That’s a good point,” he said. “It’s something we’d have to establish. First I would say only on city property. It’s not appropriate to use this at a non-city property. That’s something we hadn’t considered.”

Holland suggested coming up with some sort of fee.

“We should charge something to build up a reserve,” Holland said. “That way when maintenance comes up, you’ve got cash to take care of it.”

Matt Lawyer said anyone with any sort of sound board experience should find the system easy to use.

“We’d be happy to write up a standard procedure or base settings,” he said.

Board member Richard Walsh liked how the proposal was done.

“The great thing about this program is people will put in the hours and get the bids,” Walsh said. “If we had city staff do this work, if it was less than $300 I’d be surprised.”

Smith was in agreement and noted the $1,000 being requested was less than half of the project cost.

“We’re getting better than a 50-50 match on this,” Smith said. “So this is our first request.”

Board member William Criteser asked if the board should respond to requests one at a time as they come in, or wait until a few are proposed.

“Did you want to wait for a backlog?” he asked.

“We had considered that,” Smith responded. “This is the August meeting and this is the only thing so far. I was hoping to have more applications.”

Criteser agreed with that view.

“Maybe one will get you more,” he said.

The request was approved with a 7-0 vote.

Have crutches, will campaign

KEIZERTIMES/File photo
KEIZERTIMES/File photo

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Some potential elected officials in Keizer are really hobbling around.

Candidates for Keizer City Council and mayoral races have until the end of the day Tuesday, Aug. 26 to file for this fall’s election.

There are currently five candidates for four open seats. Cathy Clark is the only candidate for mayor, a position being vacated by Lore Christopher after 14 years. There are four council candidates: Roland Herrera, Brandon Smith, Amy Ripp and Matthew Chappell. Ripp and Chappell are both competing for the council No. 5 seat currently held by council president Joe Egli, who is not running.

Herrera is running for the council seat Clark is vacating, while former councilor and current Keizer Parks Board chair Smith is running to replace Jim Taylor, who hopes to take over Smith’s Parks Board seat.

Anyone wishing to run must file with city recorder Tracy Davis and have all materials – including 120 signatures – into Davis by 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Clark – a councilor since 2007 – and Ripp have something strange in common: they are both currently on crutches. In other words, 40 percent of the candidates to date are on crutches.

Davis noted this is the first time in her 23 years with the city she’s heard of multiple candidates being on crutches at the same time.

“It shows we’re active and that we are troopers,” Ripp said Tuesday with a laugh. “We have the fortitude to work through anything.”

Clark said prior to Monday’s council meeting she knew about Ripp’s similar predicament.

“I’m painfully aware,” Clark quipped. “When you have something like this happen, you hear stories from others. I know of four other people who have done something similar in the past two weeks.”

According to Clark, she took a bad step and rolled her left ankle on Aug. 6. The timing wasn’t ideal, as she was active in helping at the all-day RIVERfair event three days later.

Things are already getting better for Clark, who hobbled into council chambers with just one crutch on Monday.

“It’s healing nicely,” she said. “I’m just thankful it is healing.”

Despite the injury and – to this point – the lack of an opponent, Clark still plans to get out and meet voters.

“I’ll be doing some walking,” she said. “I love connecting to people and hearing their great ideas for this city. I also want to ensure a smooth transition (from Christopher).”

Ripp’s injury story is a little better.

“I was rafting on the Deschutes River and hit my foot on a rock,” Ripp said of the Aug. 9 incident. “I was going to swim and hit my foot on a rock. I had no idea it was there.”

Ripp said she’ll have at least a month on crutches but looks to make up for some lost time.

“I had anticipated I would start walking (door-to-door) in early August,” she said. “I’m a little behind on that. Hopefully by the end of the month I’ll be going door-to-door. You can’t slow me down.”

Since she was in Bend on a working vacation at the time, Ripp didn’t realize at first Clark was also injured.

“I wasn’t in the loop about what she had done,” Ripp said. “We’ve gone to lunches where we were both on crutches. It’s pretty funny.”

Ripp feels a little better about how she got injured.

“I didn’t trip or anything, I just hit a rock and didn’t see it,” she said. “If I trip over myself walking down the street, that’s another thing. But this won’t slow me down too much.”

Volcanoes stymied by Ems, Hawks

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By HERB SWETT
For the Keizertimes

Aug. 13: Volcanoes 2, Eugene 1

Drew Leenhouts, in a new role of reliever, was the winning pitcher in this road series opener that was nearly all pitching.

Leenhouts pitched scoreless sixth and seventh innings after starter Jose Reyes went five with seven strikeouts. Eury Sanchez got his 11th save, and Wilson Santos was the loser in relief.

Salem-Keizer and Eugene were scoreless through six innings. The Volcanoes got both their runs in the top of the seventh.  Skyler Ewing singled and went to third base on a double by Ryder Jones. Hunter Cole singled Ewing home, and Jones scored on a wild pitch.

The Emeralds’ run came in the eighth. Nick Vilter doubled, went to third on a wild pitch and scored as Michael Miller grounded out.

Aug. 14: Eugene 1, Volcanoes 0

This time the Emeralds won a low-scoring game, giving Salem-Keizer’s Jason Forjet his first loss against six wins.

Forjet pitched seven innings, allowing five hits and striking out nine. However, Eugene’s Zechariah and two relievers gave up only three hits among them, with Zechariah getting the win and Colby Blueberg a save

The Volcanoes’ only hits were singles by Seth Harrison, Austin Slater and Ryder Jones

The only run came in the bottom of the sixth. River Stevens singled and went to second on a single by Auston Bousfield. Trae Santos singled Stevens home.

Aug. 15: Eugene 5, Volcanoes 4 (10 innings)

A wild pitch gave the Emeralds the extra-inning game win and the series win.

The Volcanoes had a 4-0 lead through 2-1/2 innings. Eugene scored once in the third and three times in the fifth.

Then it was all goose eggs through the top of the 10th.  Joseph Epperson led off the bottom of the inning with a walk, reached second base on a bunt and third on a grounder, and scored when EJ Encinosa made the wild pitch.

Eugene outhit Salem-Keizer only 7-6. Seth Harrison was the only Volcano to get two hits, and Christian Arroyo hit his fifth home run.

Dusten Knight took the loss, having put Epperson on base before Encinosa came in. Seth Lucio was the winning pitcher.

Saturday: Boise 4, Volcanoes 1

Salem-Keizer started the home series by outhitting Boise 9-6, but the Hawks did better at putting hits together.

The Volcanoes’ Skyler Ewing hit the only home run of the game in the fourth inning to cut Boise’s lead to 2-1, but the Hawks scored two runs in the seventh. Mark Malave and Bryant Flete singled, and Rashad Crawford drove them in with a triple.

Keury Mella, this time going three innings in his rehab assignment with the Volcanoes, allowed one hit and one unearned run and struck out two. He was the losing pitcher.

Hawk starter Erick Leal got the win and Sam Wilson a save.

Christian Arroyo, Ewing and T. Relaford had two hits each for the Volcanoes.

Sunday: Boise 7, Volcanoes 6

The Volcanoes blew the series as well as a six-inning 5-0 lead.

After starter Nick Gonzales went six innings with no runs and four strikeouts, Boise’s hard-hitting hawks got to Cameron McVey for four runs, EJ Encinosa for one and Eury Sanchez for two.

Five of the Salem-Keizer runs came in the first inning. Austin slater singled, Seth Harrison walked and Christian Arroyo drove them in with a double. Skyler Ewing walked, and Aramis Garcia singled, loading the bases. Arroyo scored as a double play followed. Shilo McCall walked, Brett Kay singled Ewing home and Tyler Hollick singled McCall home.

In the seventh, Boise scored four runs on a single, a walk, a double and a ground out. The Hawks tied the score in the eighth on a home run by Jesse Hodges.

Salem-Keizer went back ahead in the eighth when Brett Kay, who had doubled, scored on a bunt single by Hollick.  In the Hawk ninth, Charcer Burks led off with a triple, and Kevin Brown followed with a homer.

Sanchez was the losing pitcher. Daniel Lewis got his first win and Corbin Hoffner his first save.

Author puts protagonist on the run from hitman he hired

Riya Anne Polcastro, the pen name for a Ringo's Tavern bartender, released her first self-published book this summer. (Submitted)
Riya Anne Polcastro, the pen name for a Ringo’s Tavern bartender, released her first self-published book this summer. (Submitted)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The foundation of Riya Anne Polcastro’s first novel started off as a joke that turned into a story she couldn’t let go of.

“I had a friend who was really depressive and always seemed on the verge of suicide. I finally told him that if he was ever going to do it he’d have to pay somebody,” Polcastro said.

Suicide in Tiny Increments had its beginnings in that moment. The novel is the tale of Daniel Long, a depressed and miserable man, who puts out a hit on his own life. Not long after he realizes the error of his ways and tries to cancel the contract, but his chosen executor isn’t quite so understanding.

Polcastro, who is a bartender at Keizer’s Ringo’s Tavern in her alter ego, said what separates her writing from others is the lack of a sympathetic protagonist.

“The main character is kind of a jerk all the way through. One of my reviewers said their favorite character was actually the hitman,” she said.

The cover to Suicide in Tiny Increments.
The cover to Suicide in Tiny Increments.

Polcastro started dictating stories to family and friends at a young age, but only threw herself into the process about five years ago. Suicide took only three months to write in 2011, but it never found a home with an agent. She opted to self-publish earlier this year. The first copies arrived in June. Copies of the book are available locally at Ringo’s and more widely in e-book format from retailers like amazon.com.

She counts among her influences the Pacific Northwest’s own Chuck Palaniuk and Leo Tolstoy with a dash of Christopher Moore.

Having pushed her first book out into the world, Polcastro is already prepping her next book for publication this fall. It’s titled Jane and again touches on the fringes of mental illness.

“It’s about someone going crazy and making the conscious decision to follow that path and see where it goes,” she said. “I tend to be fascinated by mental illness and how it affects interactions between people.”

Admittedly, her day job gives her more than a few sources of inspiration.

After Jane reaches its audience, her next book will be targeted for the young adult crowd and tackles the question of whether humanity used up the resources of another planet before arriving on Earth.

“It’s told from the point of view of a 13-year-old alien boy. It’s kind of dark and visual and graphic and sci-fi lite,” she said.

While she’s used to working on multiple projects at this point, the well is in no danger of running dry.

“I feel like there are these stories that have to get out. Each has its own power and will claw at me if I try to control it,” Polcastro said.

For more on the book, visit www.riyaannepolcastro.com.